Editors' pick

Millennium Stage - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

4/20

Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

At the Millennium Stage.
4/21

U.S. Air Force Band Airmen of Note

At the Millennium Stage.
4/22

Northwestern University Bienen School of Music

Students perform works by Schumann, Mozart, Liszt and others. At the Millennium Stage.
4/23

Eastman School of Music

Students perform works by Balakirev, Ravel, Zyman and others. At the Millennium Stage.
4/24

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Students perform works by Lorenzo, Thomas, Ligeti, Hindemith and Holst. At the Millennium Stage.
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Editorial Review

If there's another place on Earth where you can see a different live performance 364 nights a year for free, we haven't heard of it. The Kennedy Center wanted to open its doors to new audiences -- and new talent -- and succeeded beyond anyone's expectations with the Millennium Stage, where artists of all backgrounds and talents showcase their creative energy on a specially built platform in the Grand Foyer.

The stage lights up nightly at 6 and offers entertainment for patrons waiting for the opera or "Shear Madness," tourists passing through and folks who traveled to Foggy Bottom especially to take advantage of the hour-long show. On any given month there's a mix of classical music, jazz, storytelling, song and dance. Audience members might even catch Leonard Slatkin conducting a small ensemble from the National Symphony Orchestra, or jazz master Billy Taylor with his trio. Some months feature themes such as "Music in the Movies."

As a perk of office, members of Congress can nominate performers from their state to perform on the stage. You, too, can add the Kennedy Center to your resume: Local auditions are held one weekend a year in the spring. Don't be shy -- classical guitar, a cappella tunes, harmonica, folk songs and fiddles, anything goes.

-- Nicole Lewis